The Child of God

By H. Forbes Witherby.


The following references may be helpful to the reader who would investigate the use made in the New Testament of the words son, child, infant, and kindred terms.

Son huios.

There is a large number of passages where the word Son occurs in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. These, which it will hardly be necessary for our object to give in detail, may be divided into four groups. Those passages which speak of Him as
Son of God,
Son of Man,
and Son of David;
and all the other passages where the word is used concerning Him.

Passages where the word carries with it a spiritual meaning.

Matt. 5:9. — They shall be called the children (lit. sons) of God.

Matt. 5:45. — That ye may be the children (lit. sons) of your Father which is in heaven.

Matt. 8:12. — But the children (lit. sons) of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness.

Matt. 9:15, Mark 2:19, Luke 5:34. — Can the children (lit. sons) of the bride-chamber.

Matt. 13:38. — The good seed are the children (lit. sons) of the kingdom, but the tares are the children (sons) of the wicked one.

Matt. 23:15. — Ye make him twofold more the child (lit. son) of hell than yourselves.

Luke 6:35. — Ye shall be the children (lit. sons) of the Highest.

Luke 10:6. — And if the Son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it.

Luke 16:8. — The children (lit. sons) of this world are in their generation wiser than the children (sons) of light.

Luke 19:9. — This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a Son of Abraham.

John 12:36. — Believe in the light, that ye may be the children (lit. sons) of light.

John 17:12. — None of them is lost, but the son of perdition.

Acts 13:10. — O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child (lit. son) of the devil.

Rom. 9:26. — There shall they be called the children (lit. sons) of the living God.

2 Cor. 6:18. — Ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Gal. 3:7. — They which are of faith, the same are the children (lit. sons) of Abraham.

Eph. 2:2. — The spirit that now worketh in the children (lit. sons) of disobedience.

Eph. 5:6, Col. 3:6. — Cometh the wrath of God upon the children (lit. sons) of disobedience.

1 Thess. 5:5. — Ye are all the children (lit. sons) of light, and the children (sons) of the day.

2 Thess. 2:3. — That man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

Heb. 2:10. — In bringing many sons unto glory.

Heb. 12:5. — Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children (lit. sons), My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord.

Heb. 12:6-7, 8. — The Lord … scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? If ye be without chastisement, … then are ye bastards, and not sons.

1 Peter 5:13. — The church … saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

Passages specially referring to privileges of sonship.

Luke 20:36. — Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children (lit. sons) of God, being the children (sons) of the resurrection.

Rom. 8:14. — As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Rom. 8:19. — The manifestation of the sons of God.

Gal. 3:26. — Ye are all the children (lit. sons) of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Gal. 4:6. — Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts.

Gal. 4:7. — Thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Rev. 21:7. — He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.


Passages where the word marks spiritual birth or spiritual relationship.

John 1:12. — As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons (lit. children) of God.

John 11:52. — He should gather together in one all the children of God that were scattered abroad.

Rom. 8:16-17. — We are the children of God. And if children, their heirs, heirs of God.

Rom. 8:21. — The glorious liberty (lit. liberty of the glory) of the children of God.

1 Cor. 4:14. — As my beloved sons (lit. children) I warn you.

1 Cor. 4:17. — I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son (lit. child).

2 Cor. 6:13. — I speak as unto my children.

Eph. 5:1. — Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.

Phil. 2:15. — That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons (lit. children) of God.

Phil. 2:22. — As a son (lit. child) with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.

1 Tim. 1:2. — Unto Timothy, my own son (lit. child) in the faith.

1 Tim. 1:18. — This charge I commit unto thee, son (lit. child) Timothy.

2 Tim. 1:2. — To Timothy, my dearly beloved son (lit. child).

2 Tim. 2:1. — Thou therefore, my son (lit. child), be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Titus 1:4. — To Titus, mine own son (lit. child), after the common faith.

Philem. 10. — I beseech thee for my son (lit. child) Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds.

1 John 3:1-2. — Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons (lit. children) of God. Beloved, now are we the sons (lit. children) of God.

1 John 3:10. —  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.

1 John 5:2. — By this we know that we love the children of God.

3 John 4. — I have no greater joy to hear that my children walk in truth.

Passages where the word marks a spiritual condition.

Matt. 3:9. — God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Matt. 11:19, Luke 7:35. — Wisdom is justified of her children — all her children.

John 8:39. — If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

Rom. 9:7-8. — Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children. They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God. The children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Gal. 4:25. — And this Agar … answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

Gal. 4:28. — Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

Gal. 4:31. — So then, brethren, we are not the children of the bondwoman.

Eph. 2:3. — Were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Eph. 5:8. — Ye are light in the Lord: walk as children of light.

1 Peter 1:14. — As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts.

1 Peter 3:6. — Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters (lit. children) ye are.

2 Peter 2:14. — An heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children.

Rev. 2:23. — I will kill her children with death.

There are various other texts where the word marks natural birth, and some where it is used as a term of kindness, as, for example, "Son (child), be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." Matt. 9:2.

Little Childrenteknion.

John 13:33. — Little children, yet a little while I am with you.

Gal. 4:19. — My little children, of whom I travail in birth.

1 John 2:1. — My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.

1 John 2:12. — I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you.

1 John 2:28. — And now, little children, abide in him.

1 John 3:7. — Little children, let no man deceive you.

1 John 3:18. — My little children, let us not love in word … but indeed.

1 John 4:4. — Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them.

1 John 5:21. — Little children, keep yourselves from idols.


Matt. 11:25. — Hast revealed them unto babes.

Matt. 21:16. — Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou bast perfected praise.

Luke 10:21. — Hast revealed them unto babes.

Rom. 2:20. — An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes.

1 Cor. 3:1. — As unto carnal, even as babes in Christ.

1 Cor. 13:11. — When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Gal. 4:1. — The heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant.

Gal. 4:3. — Even so we, when we were children.

Eph. 4:14. — Be no more children, tossed to and fro.

Heb. 5:13. — Every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.